Fabio Modica was born in Catania in 1978. An apprentice to well-known Italian painters Alberto Abate and Antonio Santacroce, he was soon inspired by the classical Renaissance, occasionally drawing on Greek and Latin mythology. In his early years as a painter, the human figure wrapped up in a Caravaggesque light was his major subject matter and oil paint his favorite medium. His versatile spirit has led him to incorporate many different styles and mediums into his later works, including watercolors, acrylics and chalks.
The encounter with Santacroce in 2002 marked a departure from the representational style towards a semi-abstracted texture. Modica's enduring realism was gradually dismantled by a compelling drive for sheer lines and thick smudges of color.
Over time, Modica has grown a genuine passion for nude art, which has recently inspired a series of black&white paintings on the commodification of the human body and its spiritual decay. In this series, called "Mercification", the absence of color enables the painter to rely entirely on the force of his brushstroke and the gesture of scratching and carving the pictorial surface.
Modica's distinctive mark is seen in his ability to lay down "multi-layered coats of vibrant paint spread over a tortured canvas with vigorous spatula strokes, as if the painter were action painting". His most celebrated artworks are close-in portraits of female faces whose gaze "directs itself to the viewer like a darting arrow". As it has been put, "the meaning of everything is condensed in faces inhabited by beauty or imbued with suffering, all tied up together by a thin red string: the eyes. Hypnotic eyes, of a persistent crystal blue in the intimate fabric of matter and thus as deep as the soul. Eyes, guardians of truths, capable of pulling in the viewer in the fullness of their openness. Eyes interrogating and scrutinizing. Eyes speaking to us."
Fabio Modica's "faces" shape fragments of memories, enigmatic moods, and modernist "moments of being". They have become part of two parallel series titled "Gnosis" and "Prisoners of Matter", both widely acclaimed in the US art galleries where most of Modica's artistic output has been shown since 2013.
The term "Gnosis", Greek in origin, means "knowledge", but not so much theoretical as embedded in action and experience. The painter strongly believes that Art is the most effective means to enhance self-awareness.
The Gnosis series captures individuals experiencing a state of epiphany and self-revelation which suddenly generates a truly eye-opening emotion. The feelings explored are, inter alia: wonder, oblivion, eagerness, elevation, regret, self-denial, loss, composure and liberation.
In the Prisoners of Matter series the subjects are constrained within the material world, symbolized by the painting "matter". Modica skillfully catches the brief instant in which a kind of illumination, which film director Werner Herzog calls "the ecstatic flash, from which Truth emerges", breaks his subjects free from their self-made traps and barriers, so they can awake into a higher level of consciousness.
Fabio Modica has frequently partaken in art events promoting the importance of recycling in Art. A successful cycle of works entirely made of trash materials earned him the third prize at the 2012 international competition called “STOP ALLO 048 degli oggetti” and hosted in his hometown, Catania. Here Modica's portraits arise out of multicolored nails, screws, pins, plastic tools, clipped wires and whirling cables, all of which contributing to a more vivid imagery. His latest artwork of this series is a massive three-piece portrait of a woman’s face forged with used-up denim.
At present, in the United States, Modica is being represented by "Lowe Gallery" in Atlanta, “Sorelle Gallery” in Connecticut, “Aberson Exhibits” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Bender Gallery in North Carolina. In Italy he is cooperating with Simon Bart Gallery in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Arionte Contemporary Art in Catania, Rope Gallery in Modena, Mirabilia Art in Reggio Emilia, and Damiani Art Gallery in Bari. His work has also been included in many art shows throughout Europe, especially in England, Spain, France and Italy. Up until 2011, he cooperated with two modern and contemporary art galleries in London, East End “Brick Lane Gallery” and Covent Garden “Opus Gallery”, and in Italy with “Il Borgo” Gallery in Milan, "Spazio d’Arte l’Altrove" in Ferrara, "Side A Gallery" in Catania. The cultural association “SpazioVitalein” and “Ideattiva”, both based in Catania, have been promoting him for years, the latter being especially active in the field of recycling. In Nice, France, Modica’s paintings are permanently displayed at the “Villa Magdalena” Art Gallery.